IBM announced Thursday that Virginia “Ginni” Rometty will step down from assuming the position of Chief Executive Officer for the past 8 years, in a staggering period of time for the company’s growth. Her successor, will be Arvind Krishna, the current senior vice president for cloud and cognitive software. Krishna has been with IBM for 40 years, starting at the company’s upon completing his PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Rometty, who had worked for IBM for the past four decades, will continue as executive chairman through the end of the year, when she will retire. According to the Washington Post, IBM said Krishna was the company’s chief architect of its acquisition of Red Hat acquisition, the largest company merger in IBM’s history. It also said James Whitehurst, svp and chief executive of Red Hat, would become IBM’s president. Krishna was also recently elected to IBM’s board of directors.
According to Rometty, “Arvind is the right CEO for the next era at IBM.” “He is a brilliant technologist who has played a significant role in developing our key technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud, quantum computing and blockchain.”
Rometty’s departure also marks another departure from the ranks of female CEOs at large, publicly traded corporations. According to a study conducted by the research and advocacy group Catalyst, only 29 women, including Rometty, headed S&P 500 companies (as of January 15). That is less than 6 percent of CEO positions at those companies.
IBM shares increased nearly 5 percent in after-hours trading following the announcement of Rometty’s exit. What do you think? Is IBM headed in the right direction? Is it necessary for the company to move forward against growing competitors like Microsoft and Amazon? Thoughts?